Learning Lab

Neuroscience

Neuroscience Transforming Leadership Trainings

By Amy Brann

Leadership trainings can be based on guesswork and they can be based purely on what people have observed and people’s experience, but while it is hugely valuable that’s only one side of what’s going on. If we work only with guesswork, like many leadership trainings do, we just take what we think works and what we think are the things that makes the difference and the end result will be something that may or may not work for the individuals.

If you are investing in a leadership training, you really want to know what you’re learning will work for the individuals that will be taking the leadership training. They want to know that what they’re going to learn will have a profitable end step impact on your business. If you’re a different kind of organization, then you still want to know it’s going to have a measurable effect and have been worth the time and energy that you put into it.

This is where neuroscience comes in to be exciting and the key to leadership trainings today. Take an example like the visionary company like Virgin Galactic, which is one of the real up and coming companies that we can learn a lot from, from an experience perspective and from modeling perspective. The President of Virgin Galactic is very keen to have a vision that is encompassing that people can relate to and this vision is one of the clearest and the most exciting we’ve seen in a while. The vision of Virgin Galactic is in its first year of operation to put 600 people into space and return them safely to Earth. Now 600 people are more people than have been into space in the last 50 years combined. So this is a huge goal if you like but it’s also a huge vision.

The power of this vision is that everyone in the company is involved in it. Everyone can see that is where they’re heading and everyone’s working towards the end.  For them, it also extends to the people that are their customers, so the actual clients of the company can also see the vision and it’s very cleverly done. The whole process is one that they become a part of, they invested their money, and are waiting for their visionary experience.  Often we expect to see the products or services that we invest in to be delivered by a short time frame after investing in something.  That’s not the case for this because they’re not ready. In this case they needed the money to build a vehicle that would allow safe travel and the desired experience at a cost that was workable.

Everyone who invested in the service has been involved in the vision and the process. That’s why this is one of the best examples of vision done very well. What would happen if we just take guesswork and say that in leadership trainings vision is very important and all companies should have a vision statement? The danger of this is that someone spends time creating a vision statement but they don’t actually know the key things that are important in the creation of the statement or what is it actually about.

With vision the statement is the least important component of vision, and yet it’s the most commonly taught component in leadership trainings. It’s really about the process and what the end result does for people. Neuroscience offers us is an opportunity to see what’s going on and to have a really effective vision. I believe that oxytocin is really important here – this is a chemical released in our body when we’re bonding and we’re bringing groups together. When you’ve got a vision, you are really bringing groups of people together, connecting and bonding people. I believe that people going through the Virgin Galactic experienced have had multiple bouts of oxytocin released into their blood stream and circulated around their body.

As a result of this, they bond with the other people; they also bond with the company. Clients or customers bonding with your company and becoming part of what you want to achieve is a hugely valuable thing. The other thing that happens with a vision is that we can release serotonin because we can actually chunk down on a vision and then know that’s what we’re aiming for. Each time that we can see we’re moving forward in that direction then what we’re doing triggers the release of serotonin for us and keeps us going.

These are a few reasons why I think neuroscience is adding to what we’re doing in leadership training perspective. The biggest danger to avoid is just going off is a surface level of what we see other places is doing and other companies that we’re modeling. If we just see a little bit of what we are doing and we think we’ll just replicate that, the danger is we don’t get what was really going on there. That’s when neuroscience steps in there and what was really going on there.  They’re the key bits what we want to replicate. The surface level of how we actually do it can oftentimes be quite different. Synaptic Potential is all about flexibility and actually teaching you how your mind & brain works and what you need to do from a deep perspective to empower you with the flexibility to play around of how it actually works to get optimum results.

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